Presumptive President-elect Joe Biden has promised that a lot will get done on “day one” of his potential administration — a federal mask mandate coming at the head of those things Biden believes he can unilaterally order.
“On day one, I’ll sign an executive order to require masks everywhere I can,” Biden tweeted earlier this month.
“I’m absolutely convinced that in 100 days we can change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better,” Biden announced on Dec. 8, according to The Independent.
“My first 100 days, I’m going to ask for a masking plan. Everyone for the first 100 days of my administration to wear a mask.”
Biden said this edict would be enforced wherever possible “under the law,” which would include interstate travel, federal buildings and other areas controlled by the federal government.
“I think the issue of a nationwide mandate is going to be tricky,” the chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health officials, Dr. Marcus Plescia, told CNN. “With a lot of these public health laws and regulations, we really depend on social enforcement.”
“It’s very hard to implement public-health measures, because it requires a lot of buy-in,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a Center for Health Security senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University. “I think what [Biden] has to use is the moral authority of the presidency and the moral authority of all the scientists behind him.”
There has already been growing resistance to Biden’s plan, however, from many Americans tired of lockdowns and mask mandates.
“Some of it’s going to depend on the kind of cooperation I can or cannot get from the United States Congress,” Biden has said, according to Fox News.
For example, Biden promised in October 2019 to overhaul tax law to raise taxes on wealthy Americans, which would require Congress to act.
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He also plans to send Congress a bill that would create a “clear roadmap” to citizenship for illegal immigrants, particularly those brought to this country as children and covered by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Congress, however, has debated a variety of related bills during both the Obama and Trump administrations without ever passing any of them.
Biden might be able to move faster on his proposal to alter what’s known as the Migrant Protection Protocols that do not allow immigrants to enter the U.S. until their court hearings run their course, along with his pledge to reverse the Trump administration’s rules limiting asylum requests.